Christopher Marlowe lived from 1564 to 1593, which puts him of an age with old Bill. Marlowe died of stab wounds in a bar brawl, the details of which are unfortunately not clear. Writers were men in those days! Thank God I missed it.

Marlowe wrote The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) with occasional prose intrusions, frequently in the mouths of lower-class comic relief characters. The blank verse-with-sporadic-prose thing is pretty much an invariant feature of Elizabethan drama. It's worth noting that Marlowe's verse is a bit ragged compared to Shakespeare's. Shakespeare's Hamlet was largely based (at times, apparently, to the point of plagiarism) on Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy. By chance, Kyd and Marlowe were friends.

Free verse is entirely unrelated.

The first version of my writeup had Christopher Marlowe's first name, wrongly, as "Thomas". Words like "idiotic" come to mind. I was probably thinking about Thomas Kyd and got confused. Thanks to themusic for pointing this out -- and for doing it in his usual tactful and considerate way, which I'd do well to emulate.

...and thanks to mcSey for noticing some time later that I had Marlowe dying in 1693, which would make him not quite 160 years of age. Yeah! And, and, and he smoked, too!